But second-ranked Patterson still overpowered the Patriots, 35-11, in the district opener for both teams.
North Vermilion (1-3) opened the game with a fast-hitting, power running game, which had the Patterson defense on its heels.
“You just can’t do anything that’s going to take time to develop against a defense with that kind of speed,” North Vermilion head coach Tommy Byler said. “We gave them some different formations and splits and we just tried to quick hit them and we had a little bit of success.”
The Patriots only finished with 89 yards rushing in the game after surrendering big yardage on sacks and tackles for loss.
“I’m very pleased with the kid’s effort,” Byler said. “You look on the field and it’s a mismatch but our kids played with extreme heart and what we lacked in talent, we made up for it in effort and that’s all I can ask.”
The PHS offense got going on their third possession after the ’Jacks’ defense held on a fourth-and-1 at their own 44-yard line.
Quarterback Justice Jones hooked up with Jaydrick Declouet on a 37-yard touchdown pass for the first score of the night. Declouet’s kick failed for a 6-0 PHS lead.
The scoreboard at Lumberjack’s stadium malfunctioned, so time was kept on the field during the first half.
N. Vermilion continued to move the ball on the ground early in the second quarter. The Patriots went on a 10-play drive which concluded with kicker Trey Broussard missing a 45-yard field goal.
“If we could have made that field goal and got the game to 6-3, it would’ve been interesting,” Byler said. “The kid is capable of making that kick, he’s just a sophomore. He’s going to be really good.”
On the next Patterson possession, running back Trevon Stewart started ripping up the North Vermilion defense.
The senior capped a 7-play, 80-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown run. J. Jones hit Deonadre Skinner for a two-point conversion to give the Lumberjacks a 14-0 lead.
The PHS defense stuffed the NV offense again on fourth down to open the third quarter and the ’Jacks’ wasted little time lighting up the repaired scoreboard. J. Jones connected with his favorite target Declouet again, this time on a 9-yard strike at 8:05.
Jones was 16-of-26 passing for 170 yards and two scores. The senior has completed 50-of-82 passes for 611 yards with nine touchdowns.
Declouet had seven catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns to lead the ’Jacks’ receivers. Earl Andrews had four catches for 56 yards while Skinner had three catches for 20 yards.
Stewart took over game from there, darting 42 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the game on the ’Jacks’ next possession. The University of Houston commitment broke loose on a busted play, breaking two tackles with a beautiful spin move for the score. He finished the night with career-high 202 yards on 10 carries with three TDs.
He added a 54-yard score after N. Vermilion connected on a 47-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter. It was the first points allowed by the Patterson defense this season.
“We were not just trying to be the first team to score on Patterson,” Byler said, “but we attempted that kick because we may need that to win a game in the future.”
The Patriots added a late touchdown after Patterson pulled their starters late in the game.
NV starting quarterback Joe Duhon was 6-of-18 passing for 34 yards while Jeremy James was the leading rusher with 38 yards on 19 carries.
“I was disappointed in our focus and effort in practice all week,” Patterson head coach Tommy Minton said. “We (the coaches) didn’t do a good job of preparing the kids this week. We didn’t play like we are capable of and they played harder than us in the first half so they got a better result than it should have been.”
Patterson (3-0, 1-0 District 9-3A) continues district play this week traveling down the highway to Berwick Friday.
“We will make some adjustments and work on some things this week to get better,” Minton said. “We practiced sloppy and we played sloppy tonight and we have to change that this week.”
Berwick (0-4, 0-1) dropped its district opener Thursday, 33-12, on the road at Erath.